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How do I ‘unlock’ the not-provided organic traffic in Google Analytics?

For many months now Google has largely removed the ability to see which keywords are driving organic traffic. Particularly non-brand. The reason why depends on how sceptic you are, but the official word from Google was to protect the users identity and therefore privacy. This issue from a client and agency point of view is that Non-brand keyword performance has historically been one of the largest barometers for SEO campaign successes or failures.

So how can we get around this?

Although Google have stripped keyword information out, they still provide detailed collections of data that we can manipulate to give us the same answers we used to get from organic keyword traffic volumes. Let's bear in mind that for the purpose of this article, we are looking to find a way to assess the impact of an SEO strategy.

How are we going to do this?

The first stage is to understand exactly what percentage your not-provided data is when compared to your overall organic traffic figure. To do this, once logged in to Google Analytics (GA) of course, you'll need to navigate to your organic traffic and using the advanced filter options, remove and reference to your brand. You JUST want to see 'Not-provided' and any 'Non-brand' keywords in here for your chosen date range. If you aren't sure how to get to this stage, please email us and we'll guide you through it.

Once you are at the above stage, take total organic traffic and subtract the 'non-brand' traffic figure and this leaves you with the volume of 'not-provided' which you can then work a percentage of total organic traffic from.

Tracking this over time allows you to monitor increases and decreases in brand and non-brand activity, which can in turn indicate changes in brand awareness and/or non-brand rankings.

Next step...

Ok, so we know how to find our percentage of 'not-provided.' The next step is to understand and assess how elements of this data are working, without knowing the precise keywords. The answer is in the landing pages and the keywords that are bringing traffic to them. To do this, you'll need to use GA or other tools like SEMrush and Searchmetrics. Essentially you are looking to match a specific keyword to a specific landing page and noting the rank that keyword has, along with the volume of traffic is produces. By then monitoring changes in traffic to these landing pages along with their corresponding keyword ranking(s), we can begin to assess the merits of targeting certain keywords as part of an SEO campaign, by the way their corresponding landing pages are performing traffic and enquires / sales wise.

This is not a simple process, but if you are struggling please drop us an email and we'll talk you through it in more relevant detail to your brand data.


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